HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The former Hawaii Medical Center West is on its way to new life. After closing five months ago much of the Leeward community was left without a nearby emergency room. But now the Queen's Health Systems has signed a letter of intent to explore the possibility of buying the facility from St. Francis Healthcare System. It's the prognosis Leeward Oahu residents were looking for to help them breathe easy.
"We are looking forward to working with Queen's to revitalize the West campus to continue the legacy of caring established by Saint Marianne Cope and the Sisters of St. Francis. We believe that Queen's is well positioned to provide quality acute health care to the Leeward community," said Jerry Correa, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, in a written statement.
Queen's is optimistic but also cautious because the sale is still in its infancy.
"The Queen's Medical Center is very mindful of the importance of the West Oahu hospital campus to the people of that community," said Art Ushijima, President of The Queen's Medical Center, in a written statement. "While we are excited about the possibility of reopening the hospital, it is important to underscore that this is only the first of many steps before a smooth, timely ownership transfer and reopening can be accomplished."
Hawaii Pacific Health was also very interested in buying the West facility and now appears to be out of the running. But executives have no hard feelings.
"We think it's great for the community. Great news for the community," said Chuck Sted, Hawaii Pacific Health CEO. "Our motive is to make sure the people on the west side of the island have access to great healthcare and this is going to solve that so we're for anything that gets to the same result."
Since the West hospital's closure the entire healthcare system has been strained, from crowded emergency rooms to longer transport times. But the developments may be just what the doctor ordered.
"Whether it was Queen's or HPH I'm fully confident they would be able to purchase and take over and implement programs that would benefit West Oahu. In all honesty I think the community wins either way," said George Greene, Healthcare Association of Hawaii CEO.
Both sides realize the urgency involved but there is no timeline for the sale to clear or the hospital to reopen.